Traffic incidents are among the biggest causes of fatalities in the US. On average, 117 deaths occur every day in the US due to traffic accidents. The NHTSA reveals that in the first half of 2023 alone, there were approximately 19,515 fatal crashes.

In this article, we’ll look at the latest statistics on how many car deaths in the US each year. Besides, we’ll discuss the main causes of fatalities, and compare the main trends in 2023 vs. 2022 by states. So let’s get started!

How Many Car Deaths in the US Each Year (Top Picks)

  • Over the past 12 years, there has been an average of 36,690 car accidents per year in the US resulting in fatalities.
  • The number of fatalities increased by almost 32% over these 12 years.
  • In the first half of 2023, there were approximately 19,515 fatal crashes.
  • The largest increase in the fatality rate of car accidents in the US was in 2021 (+10.1% compared to 2020).
  • The most car accidents resulting in fatalities occurred in Texas, totaling of 4,481 death toll in 2022 and 4,497 deaths recorded in 2021.

Car-Related Deaths Per Year

In the first quarter of 2023, there were about 286 million vehicles on the roads of the US. On average, car accidents injure about 2.5 million people every year, and 0.7% of all crashes are fatal. But to see a complete situation, let’s look at the main trends for each year.

 

How Many People Die From Car Accidents Each Year

how many car deaths in the us each year rates

On average, over the past 12 years, about 36.690 people have died in road accidents every year. During this time, the number of fatalities increased by almost 32%. 2021 was a record year, with a total of almost 43k deaths. But there was a slight decrease of 0.3% in 2022 compared to 2021.

Here’s a quick look at how many car deaths in the US each year with the annual changes.

Year Fatalities Annual Change
2011 32,479 -
2012 33,782 ↑ 4.0%
2013 32,893 ↓ 2.6%
2014 32,744 ↓ 0.5%
2015 35,484 ↑ 8.4%
2016 37,806 ↑ 6.5%
2017 37,473 ↓ 0.9%
2018 36,835 ↓ 1.7%
2019 36,355 ↓ 1.3%
2020 39,007 ↑ 7.3%
2021 42,939 ↑ 10.1%
2022* 42,795 ↓ 0.3%
2023 (Jan-Jun)* 19,515 ↓ 3.3%**

*2022, 2023 statistical projections based on FHWA June 2023 Traffic Volume Trends for 2022 and 2023 VMT.

**compared to the first half of 2022

Source: NHTSA

 

Car Accident Death Rate Per Year

The fatality rate of car accidents per mile driven has been increasing over the years. In 2013, the rate was 1.10, while it peaked at 1.37 in 2021.

The spike in deaths in 2020 and 2021 appears to be due to changes in driving patterns during the pandemic. For example, less congested roads, which lead to higher speeds. But in 2022, the rate decreased to 1.35 and further to 1.24 in the first half of 2023.

Here is a fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT):

Year Jan–Jun Rate Full Year Rate
2013 1.05 1.10
2014 1.01 1.08
2015 1.06 1.15
2016 1.14 1.19
2017 1.13 1.17
2018 1.11 1.14
2019 1.07 1.11
2020 1.25 1.34
2021 1.33 1.37
2022* 1.31 1.35
2023* 1.24 -

*2022, 2023 statistical projections based on FHWA June 2023 Traffic Volume Trends for 2022 and 2023 VMT.

Source: NHTSA

 

Сar Сrash Statistics Leading to Death with Vehicles Involved

how many car deaths in the us each year

Truck occupants account for the highest percentage of fatalities (32.15%). Next are passengers of cars (31.51%). In turn, the lowest number of highway deaths occurs among bus passengers.

Here is a full breakdown of how common are car accidents with fatalities by vehicle type in the US:

Vehicle type Number of fatalities Percent of group
Passenger car occupants 13,529 31.51%
Motorcyclists 5,932 13.81%
Truck occupants 13,804 32.15%
Bus occupants 14 0.03%
Pedestrians 7,388 17.21%
Pedal cyclists 966 2.25%
Other incidents* 1,306 3.04%

* Includes passengers in other types of vehicles, other non-motorized persons, and unknowns.

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

What Age Group Dies the Most in Car Accidents?

According to 2021 data, about 1,500 children under the age of 14 died in road accidents. Seniors over the age of 75 are also often victims of incidents (9%).

But, the 25-44 age group has the highest number of deaths, accounting for 34% of the total fatalities. In fact, the 45-64 age group also has a high fatality rate, making up 28% of the total deaths.

Here is a more detailed look at the most recent data on car accident fatalities in the US by age group.

Age Group Total Deaths Percent
0-4 480 1%
5-14 979 2%
15-24 7,425 16%
25-44 16,040 34%
45-64 12,950 28%
65-74 4,783 10%
75+ 4,323 9%

What are the Gender Statistics for Car Accidents with Fatalities?

how many car deaths in the us each year by gender

Here are key facts about gender differences in car accident fatalities:

  • Historically, male crash deaths were more than twice female deaths. But this gap has narrowed over time. From 1975 to 2021, male road traffic deaths decreased by about 6%, while female deaths increased by almost 2%.
  • In 2021, men made up 72% of all vehicle crash deaths. This includes categories: 72% of passenger vehicle driver deaths, 97% of large truck driver deaths, and 92% of motorcyclist deaths.
  • In 2021, male passenger vehicle occupants had higher death rates in every age group compared to females. The highest fatality rates were among males aged 85+, followed by those aged 20-24 years​.

In general, men die in car accidents more often than women, due to their more risky driving habits.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

 

Fatal Car Accident Statistics by Type of Collision

These are the types of collisions that cause the most deaths:

  • with another vehicle (43%)
  • with an immovable object (26.8%)
  • with a pedestrian (19.4%)
  • without a collision (7.4%)
  • with a pedal cycle (3%)
  • with a train (0.2%)
  • with an animal (0.2%)

how many car deaths in the us each year by vehicle type

It is worth noting that each type of collision has its own statistics on the age of victims. Here are the main facts:

  • The 75+ age group has the highest mortality rate (11.9 deaths per 100,000 population) in motor vehicle collisions.
  • In collisions with fixed objects, the 15-24 age group experiences the highest death rate at 6.3 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • Pedestrian collisions see the highest mortality rate (3.6 deaths per 100,000 population) in the 45-64 age group.

In a crash with another vehicle, 44.8% of fatalities occur in an angle collision, 29.4% in a head-on, 17.9% in a rear-end, and 8% in a sideswipe.

Source: National Safety Council

 

Сar Accident Statistics by Age of the Driver

In 2021, fatal crashes involved more than 66,600 drivers. Age groups 25-34 (22.5%) and 20-24 (11.4%) had a high percentage of involvement here. They also have the highest rates per 100,000 licensed drivers.

The lower death rate among older drivers suggests that more driving experience leads to a reduced risk of fatal accidents.

Here’s the age of drivers in fatal crashes with a rate per 100,000 licensed drivers in each age group:

Age group Percent of all drivers in fatal crashes Rate per 100,000 licensed drivers
16-19 6.3% 52
20-24 11.4% 44
25-34 22.5% 37
35-44 17.4% 29
45-54 14.9% 26
55-64 13.7% 23
65-74 8.1% 17
75+ 5.6% 20

Source: National Safety Council

 

What Day of the Week Are Fatal Crashes More Likely to Happen?

how many car deaths in the us each year and day

Most fatal accidents occur between Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, more than 17% of all road deaths occur. Friday comes in second with 16.1%. The lowest mortality rate is on Tuesday and Wednesday (12.3% of all fatal accidents).

As for the time of day, the highest number of deaths on the roads was from 4 to 11.59 pm (more than 44% of all deaths).

In 2021, the day with the highest number of road deaths was August 7 with 201 fatal crushes. However, the month with the highest rate was October 2021 with more than 4,100 traffic fatalities.

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How Many Traffic Deaths in the US in 2023?

In the first half of 2023, there were approximately 19,515 fatal crashes. This represents a 3.3% decrease compared to the first half of 2022. Let’s take a closer look at each state’s statistics.

 

Where Do Most Fatal Car Accidents Occur in 2023?

Texas (2,089 deaths) and California (2,061 deaths) are the states with the highest number of traffic fatalities in the first half of 2023. In turn, Alaska (24 deaths) and the District of Columbia (25 deaths) had the fewest road fatal accidents.

how many car deaths in the us each year by states

Most states show a decrease in fatalities in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022. The largest one occurred in Maine (-46.6%) and Alaska (-26.3%). But there are some states that show an overall rise of road fatalities. For example, Rhode Island (+193% compared to the first half of 2022) and the District of Columbia (+64.9%).

how many car deaths in the us each year by regions

Here is a more detailed look at the list of car accidents by state with estimated fatalities in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022:

State 2022 2023 Percent Change
Alabama 479 460 ↓ 4.1%
Alaska 33 24 ↓ 26.3%
Arizona 627 655 ↑ 4.5%
Arkansas 281 290 ↑ 3.2%
California 2,341 2,061 ↓ 12.0%
Colorado 342 325 ↓ 4.8%
Connecticut 181 161 ↓ 11.0%
Delaware 75 77 ↑ 2.4%
District of Columbia 15 25 ↑ 64.9%
Florida 1,840 1,772 ↓ 3.7%
Georgia 881 764 ↓ 13.3%
Hawaii 62 47 ↓ 24.0%
Idaho 79 103 ↑ 29.7%
Illinois 598 599 ↑ 0.2%
Indiana 447 422 ↓ 5.5%
Iowa 150 171 ↑ 14.1%
Kansas 195 194 ↓ 0.6%
Kentucky 334 364 ↑ 9.1%
Louisiana 428 375 ↓12.3%
Maine 84 45 ↓ 46.6%
Maryland 272 293 ↑ 7.6%
Massachusetts 196 161 ↓ 18.0%
Michigan 528 492 ↓ 6.7%
Minnesota 184 163 ↓ 11.7%
Mississippi 344 342 ↓ 0.6%
Missouri 463 424 ↓ 8.3%
Montana 69 81 ↑ 16.8%
Nebraska 120 94 ↓ 21.6%
Nevada 205 179 ↓ 12.4%
New Hampshire 64 55 ↓ 14.2%
New Jersey 326 277 ↓ 14.9%
New Mexico 211 191 ↓ 9.5%
New York 510 499 ↓ 2.2%
North Carolina 763 790 ↑ 3.5%
North Dakota 39 43 ↑ 9.7%
Ohio 568 602 ↑ 6.0%
Oklahoma 326 272 ↓ 16.4%
Oregon 253 276 ↑ 9.4%
Pennsylvania 534 558 ↑ 4.5%
Rhode Island 14 41 ↑ 193%
South Carolina 516 521 ↑ 1.0%
South Dakota 48 51 ↑ 6.1%
Tennessee 607 661 ↑ 8.9%
Texas 2,104 2,089 ↓ 0.7%
Utah 151 127 ↓ 16.2%
Vermont 39 36 ↓ 8.7%
Virginia 467 441 ↓ 5.5%
Washington 349 368 ↑ 5.3%
West Virginia 122 125 ↑ 2.6%
Wisconsin 274 261 ↓ 4.8%
Wyoming 50 65 ↑ 29.0%
U.S. Total* 20,190 19,515 ↓ 3.3%

*Puerto Rico is not included (Traffic Volume Trends for Puerto Rico is not available.)

Source: NHTSA

 

What State has the Most Car Accidents that Cause Deaths?

Memphis, TN is the city with the most car accidents fatality rate (34.3 per 100,000 population). Mississippi, South Carolina, and Arizona are the leaders with the highest fatality rate per 100 m VMT. The safest states by this indicator are Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Maine.

Here are the top 10 states with the biggest estimates of the fatality rate per 100 m VMT in the first half of 2023 compared to the 10 the safest:

Rank State 2023 Fatality Rate Difference to US Average
#1 Mississippi 1.73 +39.52%
#2 South Carolina 1.73 +39.52%
#3 Arizona 1.71 +37.9%
#4 Tennessee 1.58 +27.42%
#5 West Virginia 1.58 +27.42%
#6 Oregon 1.55 +25%
#7 Arkansas 1.54 +24.19%
#8 Florida 1.52 +22.58%
#9 Kentucky 1.49 +20.16%
#10 Delaware 1.48 +19.35%
- Global US 1.24 -
#41 Hawaii 0.92 -25.81%
#42 New York 0.92 -25.81%
#43 Alaska 0.88 -29.03%
#44 New Hampshire 0.84 -32.26%
#45 Wisconsin 0.83 -33.06%
#46 Utah 0.76 -38.71%
#47 New Jersey 0.73 -41.13%
#48 Maine 0.64 -48.39%
#49 Minnesota 0.58 -53.23%
#50 Massachusetts 0.53 -57.26%
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What are Most Car Deaths Caused By?

The most common problems leading to death on the road are:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Incorrect lane usage
  • Driving erratically, recklessly or negligently
  • Failure to follow the requirements of road signs, devices, or traffic police officers
  • Driving on the wrong side of a two-way road
  • Improper overtaking
  • Aggressive driving/aggression on the road
  • Irregular merging
  • Improper turning
  • Stopping on the roadway

Drunk driving and speeding account for the largest share. So let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.

 

Drunk Driving Deaths Per Year in the USA

how many car deaths in the us each year with drunk driving

In 2021, about 36% of deaths in road traffic incidents resulted from drunk driving. 21% were due to a significant BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.15+. Over the past 12 years, this figure is roughly the same – 35% of all deaths on average.

Here’s a breakdown of how many car crashes a year by BAC level.

Year BAC = 0.00 g/dL BAC = 0.01 to 0.07 g/dL BAC = 0.08+ g/dL % of drunk-impaired deaths
2011 20,848 1,662 9,865 35.60%
2012 21,563 1,782 10,336 35.98%
2013 20,865 1,834 10,084 36.35%
2014 20,913 1,800 9,943 35.96%
2015 23,165 1,930 10,280 34.52%
2016 24,762 1,984 10,967 34.34%
2017 24,589 1,895 10,880 34.19%
2018 24,186 1,850 10,710 34.18%
2019 24,251 1,834 10,196 33.16%
2020 25,128 2,075 11,718 35.44%
2021 27,221 2,266 13,384 36.66%

Drivers aged 21-24 had the highest percentage (27.19%) of alcohol impairment in fatal crashes. In turn, the 75+ age group has the lowest involvement in deaths due to drunk driving (less than 8%).

Here’s a look at drivers involved in fatal crashes by age and alcohol involvement in 2021:

Age Alcohol-Impaired (BAC=0.08+) Not Alcohol-Impaired
15 to 20 884 4,204
21 to 24 1,499 4,014
25 to 34 3,531 9,669
35 to 44 2,417 7,874
45 to 54 1,735 7,029
55 to 64 1,284 6,801
65 to 74 589 4,179
75+ 253 3,010

Texas, Montana, and Rhode Island are the states with the highest number of drunk driving fatalities. In Texas, 48.42% of all car deaths are due to alcohol-related driving. This is almost 12% higher than the US average.

Here are the top 10 states with the biggest percentage of alcohol-impaired traffic deaths in 2021:

Rank State Alcohol-Impaired Traffic Deaths Difference to US Average
#1 Texas 48.42% +11.77%
#2 Montana 47.28% +10.62%
#3 Rhode Island 46.03% +9.38%
#4 Connecticut 45.64% +8.98%
#5 Ohio 45.05% +8.40%
#6 Washington 44.93% +8.27%
#7 New Hampshire 44.92% +8.26%
#8 Oregon 44.07% +7.42%
#9 Iowa 42.13% +5.48%
#10 South Dakota 41.89% +5.24%
- Global US 36.66% -

Let’s also consider the factors that influence the number of drunk driving deaths:

  • 68% of drunk driving deaths occurred in the dark.
  • 29% occurred on principal arterial roads (non-interstate).
  • The weather has a minor impact on drunk driving fatalities. Only 6% occurred in rainy weather. 73% of deaths occurred in clear or cloudy weather.
  • 62% deaths occurred in urban areas.
  • Most deaths occurred in July and October (10% each). The lowest number was in February (only 6%).

In general, statistics show that the percentage of deaths among drunk drivers is decreasing. For example, in 1982, this figure was 55%, but now it has decreased by 19%.

Source: NSC analysis of NHTSA FARS data

 

Chances of Dying in a Car Crash Due to Speeding

About 29% of all traffic deaths each year are due to speeding. After a decline since 2010, this percentage began to rise again in 2020.

Here’s how often do car crashes happen due to speeding by year:

Year Speeding-related deaths Percent of total traffic deaths
2011 10,001 31%
2012 10,329 31%
2013 9,696 29%
2014 9,283 28%
2015 9,723 27%
2016 10,291 27%
2017 9,947 27%
2018 9,579 26%
2019 9,592 26%
2020 11,428 29%
2021 12,330 29%

Drivers aged 25-34 represented the largest group in speeding-related deaths (26%). Also, in 73% of speeding cases, the drivers were male.

how many car deaths in the us each year by age and gender

Here is data by age of the driver involved in the cases of road deaths due to speeding:

Age Deaths Share in total
15 to 20 1,577 13%
21 to 24 1,524 12%
25 to 34 3,158 26%
35 to 44 1,941 16%
45 to 54 1,292 10%
55 to 64 877 7%
65 to 74 418 3%
75+ 242 2%

Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and Wyoming are the states with the highest number of speeding traffic fatalities. In Hawaii, 47.87% of all car deaths are due to speeding. This is almost 19% higher than the US average.

Here are the top 10 states with the biggest percentage of speeding traffic deaths:

Rank State Speeding Traffic Deaths Difference to US Average
#1 Hawaii 47.87% +18.87%
#2 District of Columbia 46.34% +17.34%
#3 Wyoming 40.91% +11.91%
#4 Pennsylvania 40.65% +11.65%
#5 South Carolina 40.57% +11.57%
#6 Vermont 40.54% +11.54%
#7 Alaska 40.30% +11.30%
#8 Connecticut 39.93% +10.93%
#9 Missouri 39.76% +10.76%
#10 New Mexico 38.67% +9.67%
- Global US 29% -

It is also worth noting that one of the most influential factors in speeding deaths is the road condition. Thus, 43% of fatalities occur on mud, dirt, or gravel roads.

Source: National Safety Council

Summary

That wraps up our look at how many car deaths are in the US each year. Nowadays, the US faces an increase in the number of road deaths. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, these figures have already increased by 17.1%. Although the NHTSA predicts a slight decrease in 2023, the fatality rate remains one of the highest in history.

If you or your loved ones have suffered from a traffic injury, consider consulting a car accident lawyer. They will help you get compensation and deal with local law.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What year had the most car crash deaths?

2021 saw a record number of approximately 42,939 fatalities in the United States, marking a 10,1 increase from 2020.

How many people die from car accidents each day?

On average, approximately 117 people die each day in car accidents in the United States.

How often does a car crash occur in minutes?

A fatal car crash occurs approximately every 12 minutes in the United States.

What percentage of drivers crash every year?

On average, 2% of all licensed drivers in the US get into an accident every year.

What percentage of car accidents are fatal?

About 0.7% of all traffic incidents are fatal in the United States.

William Green lawyer
William Green
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